Darn if setbacks are not discouraging. And mine are always unexpected. I guess that means I cannot plan my emotions, huh? I can only learn to ride them with integrity.
Setback don't mean I don't have integrity. In fact, I learn from each setback. I find an opportunity to renew my commitment to make the changes that I can.
A setback offers an opportunity for reflection, which to me is Step Eleven. Meditation for me, is reflection. A set back puts me at a crossroads, where I can decide : will I continue this work of a lifetime, or will I quit?
My experience being the way it is, I am darned if I am going to quit, after getting so far. I am not quitting before the miracle. No sirree.
Choosing to continue reflects my belief in the value of this work. Honoring my setbacks and learning from them, my faith is renewed too. For I discover from each misstep how much I really need people. You all.
Renewed Commitment. How I love those two words!
I renewed my commitment to my lifelong belief in the importance of unadulterated food, when I decided to get educated about Bill 933, despite the pain of my powerlessness. In the same week, I was dismayed at the disgusting way a property was developed in my new community. I decided not to whine but to seek information about a devastated 10 acres developed in my new community. Both challenges coming at me at the same time, made me aware that sometimes, staying serene and on course is not right action.
Right action meant facing my fear, and acting on it. It meant seeking out authority figures, when I would rather hide under a rock. For I knew I would not make bad politics, in my own backyard, go away by meditation alone. It also meant not going out of my comfort zone in anger (which is a defense that drives people away), but being honest with myself about the role fear was playing for me.
I had to part with my attachment to formalized Lenten practice, to allow real action. I was actually a bit like the Savior in his wilderness, I went to struggle with old demons in me, that had laid dormant all winter. I knew one demon came up for me to learn from that had been with me for over two decades. This meant, I could not follow a nice tidy Lenten plan by any book. Even the routines of my program failed me for a bit. When I opened myself to receive God's goodness, instead there were challenges to address, and no book to follow.
This happens in program too, when I am reading along and working a Step whole-heartedly and with great discipline and whammo, I get a problematic person flaming me, or my mom giving me a call and trying to push my buttons. Yes, it seems to work like that, right at the time when I least expect it...
Opening up can also allow important lessons in. Unexpected. Frustrating. And very real. And the messy set back is just the right thing to bring me closer to God, myself, and the help of other trustworthy people. God draws me closer when I accept my setbacks and admit I need help.
This actually ends up deepening my practice, moving it from the playground of the mind, into my heart. I move from rational commitment to complete conviction.
What was once law that I tried to obey, becomes something that dwells in me. It is part of my muscle and sinew, it flows in my veins and I can feel it in my marrow. It is embedded in me.
I believe this is the way my favorite program promise becomes true: We know intuitively how to handle things that used to baffle us.
Yes! Amen. This is the shift that gives breadth and depth to program, as well as making a Lenten practice take root in us forever.